World Team TT C'ships: India women lose to China 2-3 in group 1 opener

February 16, 2024
The Indian women’s team went down 2-3 to China after putting up a valiant show in its opening tie in the preliminary round Group 1

Busan, Feb 16 (IANS) The Indian women’s team went down 2-3 to China after putting up a valiant show in its opening tie in the preliminary round Group 1 of the World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals 2024 here on Friday.

At the World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals, each tie consists of a maximum of five singles matches. The first team to win three matches wins the tie.

Ayhika Mukherjee, who won the bronze medal at the Asian Games last year in doubles, gave India a fiery start as she stunned World No.1 and Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Sun Yingsha 3-1 (12-10, 2-11, 13-11, 11-6) in the opening rubber.

India’s top-ranked singles player at world No. 36 Manika Batra, then lost 1-3 (3-11, 8-11, 15-13, 7-11) to world No.4 Wang Manyu in the second match of the tie as China levelled the score.

In the third rubber, Sreeja Akula reclaimed the lead for India as she sent blistering forehands and mind-boggling backhand tempo changes to clean up World No.2 Wang Yidi 3-0 (11-7, 11-9, 13-11).

“I was really happy beating Wang Yidi. We got the team spirit and the players, who were sitting on the bench supported so we were so motivated,” said Sreeja after the match.

However, the reigning Olympic champions, China won the final two matches to clinch the tie. Sun Yingsha stepped out to steady the ship with a tough four-game 3-1 (11-3, 11-6, 11-13, 11-9) win over Manika. With the scores levelled 2-2, Wang Manyu then closed out the match by defeating Ayhika 3-0 (11-9, 13-11, 11-6) to wrap up the tie.

The Indian women will play their next match against Hungary on Sunday.

Up to eight Paris 2024 Olympics team quotas are on offer in each of the two events at the World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals. These will go to nations who reach the quarterfinals in Busan and have not won team quotas previously. The Indian men’s team, led by Commonwealth Games champion Sharath Kamal, will open its campaign against Chile on Saturday.

The Indian men’s and women’s table tennis teams are yet to obtain quotas for the Paris Olympics.

–IANS

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